Week in Lithuania: Football Federation promises changes under pressure from MPs, Lithuanian citizen detained for spying for Belarus – Baltic News Network
Last week, Lithuania launched a tender for the construction of Rail Baltica infrastructure, the transport authorities plan to financially support 12 flights
Lithuanian government discusses 2023 budget package
The Lithuanian government will discuss next year’s budget proposals for the central government and municipalities, as well as the Sodra social insurance fund and the compulsory health insurance fund, on Friday (October 7th). Once approved by the Cabinet, the budget package will be submitted to Parliament for approval. The central government budget deficit is projected at 4.9% next year. Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė said on Thursday (October 6th) that one of the main priorities was to contain the energy price shock and take measures to maintain citizens’ purchasing power. The Compulsory Health Insurance Fund budget for 2023 is balanced, with revenue and expenditure projected at 3.118 billion euros, 11.7% higher than the 2022 estimate.
Lithuania launches tender for Rail Baltica infrastructure construction
LTG Infra, the infrastructure subsidiary of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), has launched a procurement process, worth 1.3 billion euros including tax, for the construction of the Rail Baltica infrastructure between Kaunas and the Lithuanian border with Latvia. The aim is to select companies to build new railway embankment, engineering structures and access roads on the European gauge railway section between Lithuania’s second city and the border with Latvia, LTG said on Thursday. October 6.
Vilnius celebrates its anniversary with a comic campaign in the style of the 90s
“Go Vilnius”, the tourism and business development agency of the Lithuanian capital, has created an advertising campaign to publicize Vilnius abroad on the occasion of its 700th anniversary, and will use humor to attract attention strangers. Dubbed “Belated Birthday Greetings,” the campaign will feature an early 90s-style video showing Vilnius creating a series of birthday cards, the agency announced on Thursday, October 6. The postcards are for those who “forget to congratulate the city on its anniversary” because they still don’t know enough about Vilnius, the agency said. Foreigners will also be directed to the 700birthdaycards.lt campaign website. The clip also features foreigners from Italy, Kenya, Mongolia and Kazakhstan living in Vilnius. Inga Romanovskienė, director of “Go Vilnius”, says that one of the most effective ways to attract foreigners’ attention to Vilnius is not to be afraid to make bold decisions and sometimes to make fun of yourself.
Lithuania plans to financially support 12 flights
Lithuania could contribute financially to the creation of some 12 new air destinations under an air transport promotion model proposed by consultants this summer. The precise number of such routes should be determined by the availability of funds in the country’s budget, the deputy transport and communications minister said. It was announced this summer that the proposed promotional model would provide air connections to at least 10 important destinations for Lithuania over a decade, including Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Munich and Rome.
Lithuania reports 892 new cases of Covid-19, 1 death
Lithuania recorded 892 new coronavirus infections and one death from COVID-19 on Wednesday, October 5, the country’s health authority, LVSC, announced Thursday (October 6). Of the new cases, 699 were primary, 180 were secondary and 13 were tertiary. The number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 now stands at 158, including nine intensive care cases. The 14-day primary infection rate fell slightly to 481.7 cases per 100,000 people, with the percentage of positive tests over seven days falling to 35.5%. More than 1.2 million people in Lithuania have tested positive for Covid-19 at least once.
Border guards deter 122 migrants from crossing into Belarus
On Wednesday (October 5th), Lithuanian border guards turned back 122 migrants who were trying to enter the country illegally from Belarus, the National Border Guard Service (SBGS) announced on Thursday (October 6th). A total of 8,800 irregular migrants have been prevented from entering Lithuania since January. Lithuanian border guards have returned more than 16,800 people to Belarus since August 3, 2021, when they won the right to refuse entry to irregular migrants. This number includes repeated attempts by the same people to cross the border.
Football Federation promises changes under pressure from MPs
The Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) promised on Wednesday (October 5th) to modify its statutes by the end of the year, the parliament considering placing the organization temporarily under the direct management of the State. Luca Nicola, head of governance of national associations and global institutions at UEFA, has reiterated UEFA’s warning that the Lithuanian national football team and clubs will be suspended from international tournaments if parliament adopts a law introducing temporary direct management of the LFF. Despite earlier warnings from FIFA and UEFA over a possible suspension, the LFF’s Temporary Direct Management Bill passed its first reading in parliament last week. Among other things, the law would prohibit those convicted of intentional crimes from holding leadership positions in the federation. Seimas lawyers submitted their opinion that the bill is unconstitutional, but the parliamentary legal affairs committee rejected it.
Lithuania expects new X-ray system to curb smuggling
A new X-ray screening system installed and tested at the Kena border checkpoint in Lithuania will help reduce the volume of contraband smuggled into the country by train from Belarus, the finance minister said, Gintare Skaistė, Wednesday 5 October. The system will also contribute to Lithuania’s national security interests and trade efficiency, she said. Karolis Sankovski, CEO of LTG Infra, the infrastructure subsidiary of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), said officials will be able to uncouple fewer wagons for inspection at Vaidotai station than they currently do. According to the Deputy Director General of the Customs Department, the X-ray inspection system should be fully operational within one to two months. Between four and eight freight trains currently cross the border between Lithuania and Belarus per day, she said.
Vilnius postpones removal of Soviet stelae after UN HRC intervention
Vilnius postponed the removal of Soviet sculptures after the United Nations Human Rights Committee reported that interim measures had been imposed on monuments in the Antakalnis cemetery. The Justice Ministry said it received the letter after the committee was approached by several people calling themselves “ethnic Russians”, including Kazimieras Juraitis, who went to meet with Belarusian authorities earlier this year, as well as Dmitrij Glazkov , Tatiana Brandt and Anastasija. Brandt. Lithuania’s position on the interim measures was forwarded to the committee on Thursday, October 6, the ministry said. Justice Minister Ewelina Dobrowolska said Lithuania maintained that the interim measures were imposed on the basis of misleading information. The original plan was to remove the stelae by November 1, and Vilniaus BDT, a company that won the municipal tender, offered to do so for 48,000 euros.
Lithuanian citizen handcuffed for spying for Belarus
Lithuanian law enforcement arrested Mantas Danielius, a Lithuanian citizen, for spying for Belarus, police and prosecutors confirmed on Tuesday, October 4. A court sanctioned the man’s arrest for two months, he said. Danielius faces allegations under the article of the Criminal Code on the liability of those “who, in the execution of a mission of another State or of an organization thereof, seize, purchase or collect or otherwise communicate information constituting a state secret of the Republic of Lithuania or other information of interest to the intelligence of a foreign state”. He faces a prison sentence of six to fifteen years. Danielius allegedly infiltrated Belarusian opposition organizations in Vilnius, posing as a business consultant. He is said to give lectures and offer legal assistance, TV stations claim, adding that the man has helped Belarusian organizations Our House and Dapamoga.